Controlling interest in VIP Rail sold to U.S. firm

Purchase by Alpenglow includes buy-out of co-founder Ross McEachran's shares

Ross McEachran, left, and his son Jon, were partners in the establishment of VIP Industrial Park and Dockside Industrial Park in Corunna, both of which have been sold to a Denver-based company. Jon McEachran, who is a shareholder in the new VIP Rail operation, is CEO.

VIP Rail, a short-line rail business, has changed hands, the result of a structured buy-out of one of its founders.

Under a deal announced Thursday, Ross McEachran is exiting the company while his partner, son Jon McEachran, will remain as CEO of the business.

The sale includes the property known as VIP Industrial Park, located in Chemical Valley, and Dockside Industrial Park in Corunna, the former Ethyl Canada property that the McEachrans bought in 2013.

The new majority owner of VIP Rail is Denver, Colorado-based Alpenglow Rail LLC, although Jon McEachran has retained a portion of his shares in the business.

Jon McEachran spoke to Lambton Shield editor J.D. Booth about the sale, how it came about, and how the company intends to grow:

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alpenglow Rail’s investment in the business has been backed by Stonecourt Capital, a private equity firm.

VIP Rail is said to have strategic access to key U.S. populations and major Quebec and Ontario markets including Toronto and Montreal. The business’ service offerings include switching, transloading, railcar storage, railcar inspection, cleaning, and repair, warehousing and trucking.

“I am excited about the opportunity to bring VIP Rail to the next level by leveraging Alpenglow’s growth expertise,” said the younger McEachranl. “VIP Rail has been approached by many companies over the years, but we felt Alpenglow was uniquely suited to be both creative on this complicated transaction and an excellent partner in the growth of the company.”

Rich Montgomery, CEO at Alpenglow, said the purchase was made in anticipation of continued growth.

“The strategic placement of their assets and the tremendous growth opportunity for the business made this a natural platform investment for Alpenglow Rail,” he said.

Founded by a team of seasoned railroad executives with extensive experience in the operations, development and growth of North American short line railroads, Alpenglow Rail is said to be actively seeking acquisitions of and partnerships with short line railroads and related transportation businesses.

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